Could you and I live a trash-free life? It can be done, and I can prove it below. I know it's hard to believe, but it's actually not as hard to do as you might think. As with most things in life, it all comes down to choices. Conscious choices. Or, better yet, conscientious choices.
The average person creates an average of 4.5 pounds of trash a day. In America alone, we throw away almost 250 million tons of trash a year - with only 33 percent being recycled. Imagine how much money could be saved and how much better we could treat the earth that God created if we became more determined to not just throw everything away - or, even worse, litter. Imagine the benefit this would have - not just on the environment, but even on the economy. Think about jobs this could create. Renewable energy. The list goes on. Because just about everything can be recycled these days, or even better - re-purposed. One mans trash is truly another mans treasure, and I've written on re-purposing before so I won't revisit that now. But sticking to the idea of recycling - I've noticed week to week (since becoming a home owner in July of 2008) that the recycle bin we put by the road is completely full and our trash bin is almost empty (we actually have two trash bins and seldom use both anymore). It's getting down to one bag of trash every two weeks, and we know even that is too much. Now, there has been some conscious thought put into that concept over the last two plus years, but the good thing is - it has started to become routine. We really don't put much thought into it at all anymore. We recycle as much as we can, but we know there is still room for improvement. I know this because of Amy and Adam Korst of Dallas, Oregon.
The Korst's made a choice to live as trash-free as possible for a whole year. To do so they had to make sure that what they bought could be recycled, or composted (I'm sure I will write more on conscientious purchasing at another time). Then they made sure they recycled as much as they could - almost everything. The end result? Let's just say it could all fit into one medium size box - 75 scraps of trash total. Among the scraps of trash that could not be recycled were eight used razor blades, a burned out light bulb, two Theraflu pouches, and a broken Christmas ornament. This all added up to almost four pounds of trash - for the year. Not the 4.5 pounds of trash the average American generates a day (which is almost 1650 pounds of trash for the year by the way). But they generated four pounds of trash FOR THE YEAR. They are my heroes. And they are an excellent example for all of us.
In recent weeks, we've decided to stop using sandwich bags for lunches and we purchased plastic, washable, reusable lunch bins with separate food compartments in it to take to work every day. We've also stopped getting and using plastic bags from Target and Kroger. We use reusable shopping bags. And we no longer use those same plastic bags for our, um, pets you-know-what - which used to get thrown in the trash bins (poor garbage truck driver!). Instead, we use organic litter that flushes down the commode. OK, OK - that might be information overload. :) But the principle is the same - what decisions and choices can we make in reference to recycling? It's not hard. Call Rumpke or Waste Management, and they'll drop off a huge recycling bin at your house that contains a sticker on it of codes and examples of what can (and should!) be recycled. Then, purchase recyclable products. And do it - RECYCLE. Make your trash bin lonely. It's really not hard, and it's the right thing to do. Remember - you can recycle almost everything! Erin and I are very conscious and determined in this and other areas like this, and we long for the day when having these types of conversations with people doesn't cause them to look at us like we have two heads. We would rather find like-minded individuals who simply care about doing the right thing. And shouldn't that be the Christian response? I'm positive some folks clicked on this thinking I would be writing a spiritual post about ridding our life of sin, but in one sense - that's exactly what I'm doing. Want proof? James 4:17, "To him who knows to do what is good and does not do it - to him it is sin." This certainly qualifies.
How about it? Get a medium sized box and set it aside for those random things that can't be recycled - and do the right thing with all the rest - recycle, recycle, recycle. And you may end up needing to do what we need to do even now - get a second recycle bin!
For more on The Korst's please visit the following article:
Couple lives nearly trash-free for a year - Green House - USATODAY.com